Jessica Williams (former “The Daily Show” correspondent) and Phoebe Robinson (“You Can’t Touch My Hair” author) are bringing their hit comedy podcast “2 Dope Queens” to HBO with four hourlong specials.
The audio-to-video adaptation of the show is seamless, with the material as sharp, socially relevant and downright hilarious as ever. Like the podcast, the show includes a free flowing discussion between the two hosts, short stand-up sets from a diverse group of up-and-coming comics and interviews with special all-star guests.
Here’s what you should know about the specials, the first of which premiered on HBO at 11:30 p.m. Friday:
1. ‘2 Dope Queens’ is quintessential New York
Not only do the hosts live and work in New York, and feature many local comics, but the city is a central component in every episode. Filmed at Brooklyn’s historic Kings Theatre, with a set that looks like a rooftop deck, the city is never far from the conversation. Whether they’re talking great pizza, subway perverts, or terrible first apartments — it’s all NYC.
2. Don’t skip the beginning banter
Unlike some other stand-up showcases, the hosts are not just there to introduce the acts and fill up dead-air time. The dope queens, Robinson and Williams, are truly the main draw. The friends on and off the stage, are a tour de force as a comedy duo. They turn conversations about even the most mundane aspects of their lives into laugh-riots covering everything from their white boyfriends to their hair journeys.
3. The director is also an impressive comedian
One of stand-ups most celebrated women comics working today, Tig Notaro, is the director. In addition to her groundbreaking Grammy-nominated special “Live,” which was recorded during a set she did right after she was diagnosed with cancer, Notaro also created and starred in the Amazon series “One Mississippi.”
4. Many of the featured stand-ups are local gems
If you see a comic on the show, or hear one on the podcast, that really speaks to your sense of humor, you’re in luck: many of the comedians live in New York and perform frequently in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Among the featured talent in the specials, Aparna Nancherla, Michelle Buteau, and Kevin Barnett can all be seen frequently in local venues like Union Hall, The Creek & the Cave, and Littlefield — often with ticket prices costing $10 or less.
5. The special guests are top-notch
Williams and Robinson sure know how to pick their interview subjects. In the first two episodes you’ll be able to catch bona fide NYC celebrity royalty: Jon Stewart and Sarah Jessica Parker. During both segments the hosts aren’t afraid to put the stars n slightly awkward positions, but never so far as to lose the easy, charming conversation.